Emma Hayes was impressed by Chelsea Women’s performance at Reading, partly because she made changes to both personnel and shape for the FA Cup quarter-final tie.
There were six fresh faces in all in today’s starting line-up, with Hayes having one eye on a huge eight days of action coming up, starting with the Champions League trip to Lyon on Wednesday.
She spoke in the build-up to this game about the importance of her whole squad at this busy juncture, and she further underlined that point in the aftermath of our 3-1 win at the Madejski Stadium.
‘We were brilliant, so many good performances from the team,’ enthused Hayes.
‘The squad depth showed in today’s performance. It reflected the hard work we’ve put in in training. We adapted really well playing a team that presses really aggressively, really high, so you haven’t got the time and space to play the way you want. We exploited the space they gave us.
‘We’ve come here before and struggled, but today we did what we had to do in the right moments and the team executed the gameplan perfectly.’
Guro Reiten, leading the line with Niamh Charles, created the first two goals and then scored our third
‘She’s just a wonderful player. So intelligent, takes up great positions, in possession she’s so versatile. She’s an absolute dream to work with.
‘The combination of Guro and Niamh down the middle did really well.’
Hayes brought on a quartet of young players, with three – Ashanti Akpan, Cerys Brown and Reanna Blades – handed their Chelsea debut
‘It’s great we can get our youngsters on. They’re in training with us as often as they can, and it makes games like this easier.
‘They’re building trust with their team. It was the right opportunity today to utilise them considering the games we’ve got coming up.’
You can watch the second leg of our Champions League tie against Lyon live at the Bridge on Thursday 30 March. Tickets can be purchased here.